Padraig McCrory: Poised To ‘Hammer’ Through His Next Opponent

By Fraser Cox

On Tuesday 25th, I was lucky to have the opportunity to chat with Belfast’s very own, Padraig ‘The Hammer’ McCrory. Since his debut in 2017, he has battled his way through the professional ranks, with his most notable victory thus far against Steve Collins Jr, claiming the BUI Celtic Super Middleweight title. As a proud Irishman, McCrory is never one to shirk a challenge, with Wednesday’s return to action set to be his toughest test to date.

Firstly, McCrory details the true roots of his striking boxing nickname:

“The Hammer’ comes from when I was an amateur. There were about ten of us boxing together, all from the same area. One of the guys did a weekly newsletter, so he gave us all names, and mine just stuck with me.”

Several weeks before ‘lockdown’ took hold, McCrory moved to 10(4)-0 with an unequivocal PTS triumph over Englishman, Lewis van Poetsch. Retrospectively, McCrory thinks that he is fortunate to have already boxed in 2020.

“It was smooth, he’s a real game fighter who’s been in with a lot of good guys, but it was very comfortable. I won every round and boxed well. I was due to fight again at the end of April, but it fell through because of Coronavirus. Looking back to the 1st of February, I am very happy to have had that fight. Now, I look forward to a big fight next week.”

Away from boxing, McCrory is a qualified personal trainer. During the lockdown, he was able to transform his face-to-face gymnasium-based business to an online video call platform. Juggling work and boxing leads to a rather demanding daily schedule, but McCrory believes it is hugely advantageous in enabling him to improve as an athlete.

“I’ve been working in the gym for about four years. I started off as an assistant, taking classes and just working on the gym floor. I thought I could make more of it, and got my level three personal training certificate on the week of my fight with Steve Collins Jr. The following week, I was straight into work.

I get up at 6:00, work until 10:00, then I’m in the gym for 10:30, training for 2 hours. Afterwards, I do my S&C, then work again from 17:00 until 20:00 or 21:00. It’s long days, but I definitely feel a lot fitter and better from doing it. During the lockdown, I was able to focus a lot on my conditioning, doing long runs etc. I think it’s paid off. Working and boxing is not easy, but bills need paying – I just get on with it.

If coronavirus sticks about, I think online classes are definitely something that we will see for a long time. A lot of my clients were saying that they liked getting out of bed, going downstairs and training. I prefer face-to-face, but my business has to work with what works best for people as well.

Our gyms have been back open for around 8 weeks. I finish work on Saturday, then I’m off until the next Monday. I’m taking a full week off which will be good for me; hopefully, I’ll get the win and have 4 or 5 days to myself.”

McCrory feels that he will be unfazed by the new regime of boxing behind closed doors, however, this fight against Mickey Ellison will be his first outside of Belfast.

Lewis Crocker, McCrory’s stablemate - and now WBO European Welterweight Champion - headlined MTK’s show on 26th August. ‘The Hammer’ gave ESBR his pre-fight prediction: it turned out to be quite an accurate one.

“Boxing behind closed doors will be different for everybody. This will also be my first fight outside of Belfast, and I always sell a lot of tickets. As an amateur, I’ve stayed in hotels before - not under quarantine restrictions, but I think I’ll deal with it well. My first fight was in The SSE Arena and I fought in front of about four hundred. It holds about eleven thousand, so it felt pretty empty. We’re all in the same boat, so I’m not worried.

I love fighting in Belfast. It’s a great city for boxing and is full of stars: Frampton, Conlan, Burnett. I hope there will be more shows in Belfast, and that I can be part of them.

I definitely think all-round, I’m a better fighter. I watched Ellison’s fight aga